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Victory Junction brings fun to Chapel Hill

The Ronald McDonald House of Chapel Hill serves 2,200 families yearly, providing cost-free housing to families with seriously ill or injured children. In March, the charity decided to partner with Victory Junction, a North Carolina-based camp designed for children with serious illnesses.

Victory Junction will host monthly activities for the families at the house, such as family game night, craft night and movie nights. The partnership is a part of the camp’s outreach program, called Reach, which brings camp activities to kids unable to visit.

“Victory Junction is designed to bring a smile to kids’ faces, to give them an opportunity to go to camp — and the Ronald McDonald House is providing housing to families with kids in the hospital,” said John Lemmon, outreach coordinator for Victory Junction.

“At the end of the day, we’re all just trying to help people.”

The Ronald McDonald House in Chapel Hill is currently undergoing an expansion that will double the house’s square footage. The expansion is expected to be finished by September.

The expansion will include 20 new long-term stay suites, four short-term guest rooms, a dining room, a kitchen, a small child playroom, a chapel and a game room. It will total 20,000 square feet.

He said the goal of the Reach program is to bring smiles to families’ faces in the same way that the camp brings smiles to the faces of their campers.

It’s designed to give them a chance to relax, and the partnership between the two organizations was the perfect way to help that happen.

Reach will be funded by the Carolina Credit Union Foundation, which has pledged to donate $800,000 to the program over the next four years.

“As credit unions, we have seven different cooperative principles and philosophies that adhere to everything and every way we do business — the seventh of those principles is that credit unions will invest themselves back into their communities, and that’s really what the Carolina Credit Union Foundation is all about,” said John McGrail, CEO of the foundation.

“We do it not because we’re mandated to but because it’s what we should be doing. It’s what we believe in, and it’s the right thing to do.”

The Carolina Credit Union Foundation has been supporting Victory Junction since 2012, McGrail said.

Michelle McNeil, one of the managers at the Ronal McDonald House of Chapel Hill, said she expects the partnership to be a great one, benefiting not just the families but both organizations as well.

Lemmon said that so far, the program has received excellent feedback, though it is still young.

“It’s all about the kids and the families — the soul of our organization is always the kids and their families.”

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